Information Systems Technology Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Info

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What will you learn in an information systems technology degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of associate's and bachelor's degrees, online options and potential careers.
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Studying Information Systems Technology: Degrees at a Glance

As an academic discipline, information systems technology involves the analysis of the hardware and software behind the various data collection, processing and distribution systems used in today's business world. Degree candidates enrolled in one of these programs learn the intricacies behind installing and maintaining the technological infrastructure on which the computer systems depend.

Topics covered in one of these programs include networks and network architecture, data communication systems and information security. Possible careers include software developer, security consultant, help desk officer and more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that jobs for computer analysts would increase by 22%, faster than the average for all careers, from 2010-2020. Employment for computer support specialists was projected to increase by 18% during the same decade, and employment for computer and network system administrators was expected to increase by 28%.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in entry-level positions in the information systems field Those interested in pursuing leadership positions in a range of technology environments
Common Career Paths (with approximate annual mean salary information) - Help desk technician (unavailable)
- Computer support specialist ($52,000)*
- Computer systems analyst ($82,000)*
- Database administrator ($77,000)*
- Network system administrator ($74,000)*
Time to Completion Two years full time Four years full time
Common Graduation Requirements Most programs include an information systems internship Most programs feature an internship
Prerequisites High school diploma High school diploma
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures)

Associate's Degree in Information Systems Technology

These programs are designed to prepare individuals for entry-level positions in a wide range of business computing environments. The curriculum is often designed so that it can be treated as a terminal degree or as preparation for seeking additional education. In addition to your core computing classes, you'll also enroll in business management courses to help you become eligible to pursue middle management employment opportunities.

This type of program covers basic information systems concepts, such as algorithms, data structures, software architecture and module interfaces. You'll also study the effective communication techniques and leadership skills you'll need in the workplace.

Pros and Cons of an Associate's Degree in Information Systems Technology

Pros

  • The combination of computing and business courses could make you more adaptable in a competitive job market
  • You can complete your education in two years or less
  • Employment opportunities in computing fields should increase at a faster than average rate over the coming decade

Cons

  • This program will not qualify you for positions such as software engineer or systems analyst
  • You might be competing for jobs with people who have a bachelor's degree
  • Some of the courses in an associate's degree program may be redundant if you plan to pursue a bachelor's degree

Courses and Requirements

In addition to your information systems courses, you'll enroll in a number of electives, such as English composition and public speaking. Most programs also feature an internship, in which you'll work in a professional business setting for course credit. Below are listed some sample core courses.

  • Operating systems
  • Database management
  • Network administration
  • Webpage design

Online Course Info

Online information systems technology associate's degree programs are available. They're offered as hybrid programs (a combination of online and classroom teaching) or as entirely online programs. Entirely-online programs might not offer the same internship opportunities as a traditional classroom-based program.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

The more technical information you master, the more marketable you'll be as an employee. You might want to think about learning a computer language with which you are unfamiliar, or learn HTML and start designing websites. If your plan is to continue on to a 4-year college, start to think about what they will be looking for from prospective students. Keep your grades up and aim for an impressive internship opportunity.

Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems Technology

This interdisciplinary degree program provides you with a broad technical education while also teaching you the business skills you'll need to lead. You'll learn how to develop and maintain the technical resources of an organization. You'll also learn the management principles and the corporate decision-making processes used in the workplace.

Many of these programs are set up so that you can choose a concentration within the degree, such as date security, digital forensics or corporate management. Upon graduating, you'll be able to pursue careers such as software developer, information system auditor or e-business consultant.

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems Technology

Pros

  • According to the BLS, employment opportunities for computer systems administrators were expected to increase by 22% from 2010-2020
  • The management courses in the program might make you a more competitive candidate for employment
  • This type of degree program prepares you for a wide range of information management positions

Cons

  • You might need to work weekends or irregular hours as problems arise
  • For some positions, you may be competing with individuals who have a graduate degree
  • The median cumulative loan debt associated with a bachelor's degree program can be relatively high for those students who rely on financial aid

Courses and Requirements

Many programs feature an internship or co-op requirement. This may provide you with valuable work experience and networking opportunities. Below are listed some sample core courses.

  • Computer forensics
  • Data loss prevention
  • Programming and logic
  • Computer networking

Online Course Info

These degree programs are available online. The online programs are often tailored towards the working professional. When researching online degree programs, you'll want to make sure the program in which you're interested is offered by an accredited institution. You may decide to continue your education at a later date and you'll want to be able to transfer your credits.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

Your strategy for getting ahead with this degree will depend largely on which segment of industry you plan to enter. If your goal is to work for a non-profit, perhaps you'll want to take a course or two in grant writing, since this is how non-profits secure most of their funding. If your plan is to secure a position in the growing healthcare field, it might help to be familiar with the latest developments in patient privacy policies as well as the latest software and computing tools used by the healthcare industry.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - IT
      • BS - IT - Security
      • Bachelor: Information Technology
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Data Management
      • Bachelor: Information Systems Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Computer Systems Security
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
      • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
      • Bachelor: Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
      • BS in Health Information Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cyber Security
      • BS in Business Admin. - Business Intelligence
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Utica College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • Online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS Business Studies in Computer Information Technology
      • BS Management Information Systems - IT Mgmt
      • BS Management Information Systems - Project Mgmt
      • Bachelor of Science Information Technologies - Des
      • BS Computer Science
      • BS Game Programming and Development
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. General Studies - Computer Information Technology

Featured Schools

Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - IT
  • BS - IT - Security
  • Bachelor: Information Technology

Are you a US citizen?

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Technology: Information Assurance and Security
  • Bachelor: IT - Network Admin

Are you a US citizen?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration

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Kaplan University

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • BS in Cybersecurity
  • BSIT - Information Management

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Grand Canyon University

  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cyber Security
  • BS in Business Admin. - Business Intelligence

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Utica College

  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Information Technology

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS Business Studies in Computer Information Technology
  • BS Management Information Systems - IT Mgmt
  • BS Management Information Systems - Project Mgmt

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